Aeric Dalia/Vol 2 Chapter 2
((NOTE)) Most of Chapter 2 was deleted
Aeric drew his sword and held it limp to his side as he started to march back into the possessed fortress. His mind begged him not to continue in, and that he was in over his head, but there was definitive evil in this place and he could not sit idly by with knowledge of its existence. He would not berate the others for not wanting to venture back in, The foe he faced could very well be beyond his ability to defeat. Demons never were. " Wait! I'm not certain, I'm just saying its a possibility that it can be killed." Dalia protested. " what will most-likely happen if it can gather enough strength to manifest itself, it will posses a mortal." "I know." Aeric spoke still walking towards the entrance. "Then I'm going with you. I can't talk you out of this suicide mission." She picked up her weapon, what little use it would do, and ran after him. The rest of the group started popping up one at a time, following the last. The party ventured into the darkness, to their great reluctance. They were paladins, they knew what needed to be done. Aeric stayed at the forefront, moving slowly through the hallways. Despite the group looking to him for guidance and strength, he had no idea what he was getting them into. His mind was full of doubt, and concern. He looked back at Dalia, who seemed calm, almost as if this place wasn't affecting her in the same manner. He slowly started piecing it together. "This thing feeds off emotion?" Dalia nodded in response. Aeric made a bold decision. " Come out and face me you coward!" The group's nerves were on edge, worried that Aeric's provocations would work. Their fears got the better of them. They started seeing shadow people from the corners of their eyes, hearing voices, noises. It was watching them, and Aeric was content letting it.
Not content to stay in the cramped hallways They decided the best place for a 'standoff' was in the courtyard of the keep, if it had one. Though getting there was proving difficult with the maze-like layout of the keep, and doors slamming left and right. Jenis mentioned that he swore the layout had changed on them once. Aeric had warned them of the gray apparition that attacked him before, but it never seemed to show up. In fact the place seemed rather quiet aside from a few creaks and bumps. "How can we speed this process up?" Aeric said growing impatient. "I don't think that's wise." Faline said. "I'm more than happy to wait this thing out." " That's not going to work, it's getting stronger just you being here. Dalia retorted to the elf. " Besides, it can outlast you." "Well who made you the authority on demons?" The group shot Hale a vicious glance. Aeric started to drag his sword, kicking loose debris, and slamming errant objects around. This made everyone around him nervous, especially Voren, who many times told Aeric to calm down. Aeric persisted. They came to a larger open area. The grand hall of the keep. Areic felt more comfortable here than in the hallways, but something was amiss. The events weren't happening as strongly as before. Nothing was chasing them, or grabbing them. It was quiet. Almost as if nothing were here in the first place. " I do not like this at all." Voren said trying hard to suppress the trembling in his voice. He still remembered the strange sensation of being lifted up and pulled off into a dark room. He was still terrified. His nerves were breaking and he could feel the others felt the same. "Pissant!, Too scared to show yourself after last time eh?" Aeric still taunting. Aerics attempts at angering the entity seemed to be failing until a strong gust of wind swept through the keep. Aeric smiled behind his steel veil. Almost on instinct the rest drew and readied their weapons, despite the fact their enemy wouldn't be harmed by them. They heard rocks being turned and shuffling in random directions. By this point they had gotten accustom to the bumps and noises. This is when they began to see figures getting closer to them in the dark. They were humanoid but characteristic-less. they would get close then vanish, only to reappear where they weren't looking. "I thought it was just one thing." Voren interjected.
Jenis was the first to strike out. His sword cut clean through the shadow figure, and it dissipated into mist, the rest of the apparitions faded into the ground as well. They let up their guard for a second to look over at Jenis. Behind them a single massive apparition grew from the ground. As they turned back to see the figure it descended upon them. before they could react they were enshrouded in pitch black veil. They could barely see their hand in front of their face as they tried to attack. Just as quickly as the attack happened it ended. They looked around to see where the creature went, only to find that Jenis was missing. His cries for help were heard an impossibly far distance away considering the time of the attack. Without hesitation they chased after Jenis. In their hasty pursuit, a large iron portcullis fell splitting the group in two. Faline Voren and Hale on one side, Aeric and Dalia on the other. The group exchanged profanities for a short time before they tried breaking the rusty bars, to no avail. They decided that there was no choice but to move on. It wasn't an easy decision, splitting up, at this point just weakened the group, as well as their morale. Though she was inexperienced with the supernatural, she was a grizzled vet and Aeric put faith in Faline that she would keep a level head and keep the rest alive. Aeric looked to his acolyte. The face of confidence he had been looking on for strength was no longer there. Instead she had a look of concern on her face. There was something else about her that he couldn't figure out what was different. She moved slowly away from the portcullis, and a look of sheer terror came across her face. "It's just toying with us... Aeric...I was wrong." Her Amber eye's began to glow.
Dalia took a forced step towards Aeric with the same frozen expression on her face. As she took another step forward Aeric took a step back. It was obvious she wasn't moving of her own volition. " Are you alright?" He said clenching his sword tighter. " Aeric.... I'm not moving my body." She took another step, this time she began to level her spear at Aeric. He was being forced to attack her. His arm started to tug gently almost as if it was making him move to defend himself, he started to feel his body begin to move on its own. It was beginning to take its hold. The control was slight and it seemed to expend its power controlling the both of them, or so it seemed at least. To Aeric it almost felt like he was in the state of sleep where the mind is conscious but the body isn't, that if he just concentrated hard enough he could break the hold over him and 'wake up'. Time was against him as the succubus neared him, fighting back as much as she could. The Paladin tried to rock his body back and forth to no avail. He looked at the demon he was going to be forced to slay, and his mind hit him with many thoughts, but he held onto one. He saw the future, he say Dalia as a reformed holy knight, free of her corruption. He blanked his mind to everything else and focused on this future he wanted to make, not only envisioning it, but believing in it. His hand was held high with his sword about to swing, and Dalia about to thrust. His thoughts turned to another thought of the future right before they would strike. All he saw was her lifeless body in his arms. It was a brief image, but it had caught him off guard, and his body shivered at the thought of losing her. He regained control over his body just in time to parry the thrust. He quickly twisted around to grab Dalia's arm. He lipped a pained apology that she couldn't see. A small spark shot from his grip and the poor succubus was yet again taken over by a strong convulsion. Aeric grabbed her limp body, hoping he hadn't used too much force, but she was entirely responsive. He feared in trying to save her he killed her. "....Forgive me, Dalia..." He lowered his head over his comrade, holding her close. Her eyes shot open and she let out a loud gasp for air, causing Aeric to jump unnoticeably. His heart filled with warmth seeing that she survived a smiting, though he tried his hardest to not let her notice. The demon's faculties were regaining and Aeric had an edge over her subtle abilities. She looked back at him with a look of utter confusion. "This is not my day..."
AUTHOR'S NOTE To Sum up what happened next. Dalia asks Aeric why he attacked her all of a sudden, and he claimed that she was being possesed to attack him. She tells him that she can't be possessed and it turns out the Demon in the fortress plays to your fears and creates illusions. After fighting through these illusions Aeric and Dalai eventually join up with the rest. They find Jenis All floating and possessed. Aeric tries to make everyone angry at him so their emotions can power the demon to the point where it can manifest on its own without using Jenis. They smite jenis and exorcise the demon causing it to appear. They all smite cleave and holy power the demon to death and it causes the fortress to start collapsing in on itself. Durring their panicked flight Faline blunders into an ancient trap with shoots poisoned barbs into her. They manage to escape and this leads into Chapter three. It was put way better in the actual text and was totally awesome.